Write an essay where you tell us what test preparation practices work best for you and why.

It’s late and the night before a big test. My brain’s blissful disregard and irresponsibility I had been catering all week begins to contort into a tall, dark form. I stare with fearful curiosity at the new shadow towering over me . Around me, it's dark, but the form looks to be some sort of dam, greater than any man-made structure. The seldom beast suddenly splinters, at first a small cut, but each blink multiplies the breakage and a dull light pushes its way through the cracks. The astonishing visual is accompanied by a directionless thunder, like that of a planet fracturing, billowing into my skull as a low, constant rumble.
Despite the movie-esque disaster forming in front of my metaphysical self, I am eager, ready to embrace the rushing contents of the other side. The monstrosity looks to be an extravagant connect-the-dots, cracks eternally intersecting and parting, weaving through each other. The dam holds by pure obstinacy, until a mentality itself is no longer strong enough to hold back the pressure, and it bursts.
Reluctance and lethargy is swept away by hoarded the stress in a storm of motivation, diligence, and fixation. My body is moving faster than my mind can keep up with; my notes are sorted, color coded, rewritten. I feel as though I have been injected with a mixture of caffeine, ice water, and the blessing of Athena as I pour over two weeks of education. I become a colonizer of knowledge—absorbing, seizing, conquering facts and formulas. Each success fuels my fire, inspiring me to move quicker, and with more certain confidence.
Eventually, the dam empties and I am left to only witness what I have accomplished. I look at my hands, smudged with graphite and pen ink and my eyes, pink with exhaustion, but glinted with triumph. I had done it—used my own vices to my aid. This night, I had deceived my overwhelming feelings of stress and procrastination into thinking they were in fact a different type of energy, a catalyst of my benefit.

Gabrielle from Maryland
High School Senior
Francis Scott Key High School